After endless speculation and lead-up to today’s 3:00 PM pre-expansion trade freeze, the deadline has come and gone with the New York Rangers standing completely pat. That means Antti Raanta will be the goaltender exposed for the Rangers, assuming nothing gets done between now and June 21. Not that it’s all doom and gloom, but it would have been encouraging to see the Rangers recoup some assets before potentially letting Raanta slip to Vegas for nothing.
But at the same time, steering clear of those deals might be better in the long run, considering what teams are rumored to be paying Vegas to stay away from certain players. With the protection lists due at 5:00 PM, we’ll find out soon enough who the Rangers are officially protecting, even though it’s pretty much a given at this point.
The one thing to keep an eye on though is the last protection spot on defense, that may or may not be available. The Rangers never “officially” confirmed that the buyout paperwork was filed for Girardi, so he may still be the third defenseman they protect for some reason. But there’s also the possibility that they protect Brendan Smith’s rights, as he’s the only other player that would make sense if Girard is off of the books.
While the expansion draft answers will finally come to light tomorrow, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Rangers when this trade freeze lifts. Bob McKenzie has been generating a ton of smoke around the Rangers the last few days, starting yesterday with the Stepan/Arizona rumors. He followed it up today by mentioning that the Rangers were done for the day, but left the door wide open for something to potentially happen after Thursday’s expansion draft.
There’s certainly a lot of smoke surrounding the Rangers right now, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what they’re up to. But one things for certain, it’s going to be an interesting week or so leading up to both of the upcoming drafts.